I was in a fairly big earthquake once when I was in college. I was at home, sleeping, as most college kids like to do. I was awoken by this loud banging sound which was probably all the stuff in my room being lifted up and dropped down. My eyes opened to see the walls swaying back and forth. I don’t think I bothered to put my glasses on.
I ran to the doorway and stood there because that’s what we were told to do in school. I was on the second floor which probably swayed a lot more than downstairs. There were no tables up there to hide under. I remember thinking, “This is stupid. The house is going to fall down. If I stay here, I’m going to be smashed.” I had to make a decision whether to stay up there or run out of the house. I decided to run. I was going to run out the front door, but changed my mind because there were streetlights and trees that could fall on me. I took the long way out which was to the back yard. I threw the gate down that was keeping our dog in the kitchen. I think I grabbed the cat and ran out the sliding back door all the way to the back of the yard where nothing could fall on me.
I looked back at the house. The chimney was still swaying slightly. I was freaked out. After it was all over, my cousin from Hawaii came out to the back and said, “What was that?” I had forgotten that he was staying with us. He was asleep also and probably didn’t have his hearing aid in, so he missed all the banging sounds.
My friend said that where he was, he couldn’t even walk because the ground was shaking so much.
For a few years after that, every time I would get scared, I would feel these needle-like sensations on my skin. It was like being pricked with hundreds of needles. I was a wreck during the aftershocks. There was an aftershock in the middle of the night that sent me sitting in the doorway screaming. My family looked at me like I was crazy.
Once in a while I still get those needle-like sensations when I’m scared, but they’re minor. I still get scared during earthquakes, but I know when to run and when not to run now. I’ve seen other people freak out and run, but I just stand there because if it’s not as big as the one I was in, I’m not moving.